According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, approximately 50 percent of the American population who sets New Year resolutions, have included lifestyle changes such as losing weight and getting more exercise, as the goals they most want to achieve.
Unfortunately, many of us fail to consistently invest in the efforts these resolutions require. As Carl Sandburg, a celebrated poet and author once wisely said: “It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t, it’s that some people are ready to change and others are not“. The truth is, we all can be in our best health and fitness this year. However, we must be willing to make a lifestyle change and embrace it fully.
If you’re truly ready to take on this life changing commitment, on this post, I’m sharing 7 tips have helped me to become fitter and healthier. Give them a go and incorporate them into your daily routine. May they help you to be in your very best shape in 2018!
1. Do NOT Deprive Yourself
Most of us are familiar with the concept of reverse psychology: when we are told to NOT do something, more often than not, we will do the very thing that we had been prohibited to do. In other words, when we tell ourselves NOT to have a slice of that chocolate cake, NOT have that piece of chocolate or NOT to indulge in a celebratory steak dinner, we will end up contradicting ourselves and bingeing on the food that we were not supposed to have in the first place.
In order to lead and maintain a healthy lifestyle, keep in mind that you need to occasionally cut yourself some slack. Allow yourself to eat anything you want but do so in moderation and be sure to balance it out with healthier food choices. This way, you won’t feel as if you are being deprived of the food you love and having your efforts backfire.
Learn and stick to proper portion control – for example, if you would usually finish a whole bag of chips in one sitting, take out 1/3 to 1/2 of the bag of chips out and place it in a bowl and save the rest away for later.
2. Practice Mindful Eating
Image credit: Allied Nutrition
We’ve all had days where we come home utterly exhausted from a busy work day and find ourselves opting for whatever we find in our pantry or fridge and devour it while watching our favorite TV shows. But if you’re serious about getting healthier and fitter this year – this is definitely a habit that you would need to break.
A study done by The University of Birmingham (UK) found that when we consume our meals while being distracted with other tasks, we end up having larger meal portions than if we were to focus solely on enjoying the meal itself. Unsurprisingly, this habit often leads to weight gain. So, during your meals, make a point to start practicing mindful eating, which essentially means to eat with intention and attention. Focus your attention on the food and give your taste buds time to enjoy the burst of flavor of your meal and savor every delicious bite.
3. Prepare Your Own Meals
Like many food lovers, I love eating out and checking out new restaurants. However, it finally dawned on me that constantly going out to eat not only breaks the bank, it also makes it harder to keep track of portion control.
Though I don’t exactly restrict myself from eating out these days, I’ve made a point to prepare meals more often. This way, not only am I able to determine the ingredients of the dishes I prepare, it’s easier to keep meals healthy and balanced. As a bonus, cooking is often therapeutic and gives you a chance to try out new, delicious recipes and sharpen your cooking skills which would delight your loved ones. It’s truly a win-win situation!
4. Juice It Up!
For those of you who aren’t too keen on eating fruits and vegetables or finding it a hassle to ensure that you consume enough within your meals, juicing provides a great alternative. Some juice recipes also work wonderfully for detoxification. Not only will you get a daily dose of vitamins and nutrients, you can simultaneously cleanse your body of harmful toxins.
If you’re looking to make the most of your detox efforts, you’d be interested to know that during a detox retreat, you’ll have the support and guidance of professionals as well as all the tools you need to ensure that you reap all the awesome benefits of the process. A detox holiday offers a great way not only to kickstart a healthier lifestyle, it’ll help you learn how to maintain it too!
5. Don’t Skip Breakfast
Admittedly, this is something of a no-brainer for me as breakfast is my favorite meal of the day! That said, you probably have heard that it is also the most important meal of the day. This is because it literally fuels you for the day ahead. If you start the day on an empty stomach, you won’t be able to perform optimally and you will be more likely to reach for unhealthy (fatty and high sugar) snacks mid-morning to ‘hold you over’ till lunchtime. When you skip breakfast, you tend to also compensate with a bigger, heavier lunch– this is why various research found that those who don’t usually eat a hearty breakfast in the morning are more likely to be overweight.
6. Drink More H2O
As you probably know, our body consists of about 60% water, so it makes sense that we need to make sure we consume plenty of it to keep ourselves fully hydrated. “Think of water as a nutrient your body needs that is present in liquids, plain water, and foods. All of these are essential daily to replace the large amounts of water lost each day,” says Joan Koelemay, RD, dietitian for the Beverage Institute, an industry group.
While water doesn’t exactly provide a magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages (e.g soda) can definitely help. As a 100% all natural liquid, water provides an abundance of health benefits and helps to keep your skin hydrated and glowing. So, keep a full water bottle handy with you at all times and be sure to drink about 8 glasses (2 liters) per day!
7. Stay Active
Getting a fitter (and healthier) body becomes more effortless when you adopt an active lifestyle. However, if you have the typical 9 to 5 desk job, extra efforts are required to make the most of your time during the weekdays. For example, you can opt for the stairs instead of the elevator, take a brisk walk after lunch, and/or make time for a workout accompanied with your favorite work out playlist before or after business hours.
Image credit: HuffingtonPost.com
Whether you prefer to go for a run, take a dancing class or practice martial arts, it’s important to get your heart pumping for a minimum of 30 minutes a day at least 3 times a week. Be sure you take up activities that you actually like – not those that you think you ought to. Nothing spoils a fitness regimen than feeling as if it’s an obligation rather than an enjoyment. If you get bored easily, feel free to mix it up! Try out different kinds of activities, the key is to get your body moving and to have fun!
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